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Writers Retreat

I’m an expert at procrastination. I am the queen, the overlady, the mistress and the expert of procrastination. Seriously, I dare you to find something (other than eating chocolate) that I can’t put off by at least an hour.

Even writing.

Writing.

My very life blood.

The stuff I eat, speak, dream, and live for.

Yep. I can procrastinate over writing too. In fact, I’m probably the best at this kind of procrastination – I can literally put writing off for weeks on end… Okay, months. I have proof – that incomplete, barely-there, insulted-looking novel that I keep wittering on about it proof enough that I’ve spent the last few months expertly avoiding it.

I need to find a writers retreat. I need to get out of the usual life – and all its available distractions – and ignore everything and everyone so I can just get on and write. It might not necessarily be a proper, organised one. It might just be somewhere I can go to be completely alone. No distractions.

Current distractions include:

  1. TV
  2. Internet (Facebook and Twitter and WordPress inclusive!)
  3. Phone
  4. Friends (no offence guys, you’re just far too entertaining to ignore, and that’s a compliment really)
  5. Family (living at home is hardly conducive to a quiet environment)
  6. Food (a whole drawer-full of goodies can’t be ignored)
  7. Cat
  8. Weather … well, when it’s this sunny anyway
  9. Books … I know, these technically shouldn’t count, but they do stop me from writing
  10. Running. It might be for a good cause, but my God it takes FOREVER

I don’t stand a chance, when I’m just so good at avoiding writing. I need to hike up the Alps and find a hut with a cosy room and an endless supply of tea and nothing to do but write. I need some time off work, and some time to myself to really concentrate on writing. I know I’ve been saying this a lot – just get down to it and concentrate, learn to be disciplined, blah, blah, blah. But I think I need to go to the extreme – and literally go away from everything. Sitting at the family room table, surrounded by the detritus of everyday life, or huddled against my pillows on my bed, doesn’t really help with finishing the novel. Mainly because I get distracted by everything else.

I need to get gone.

But first, there’s that TV programme I want to watch, and I’m sure there was some crisps around here …

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Manipulating Inspiration

Following on from the re-blogging spree I’ve recently had (and the post that explains why) I have found myself drawn to my Writing Shelf. This is a very particular shelf – and the name sort of implies the purpose: this shelf is filled with books bought with many a good intention – “how to” writing books, books on how to create plotlines, where plotlines come from, ideas for writing various genres, and memoirs from famous authors (the kind of authors I wish I was instead of mediocre me). This shelf sits alongside other abandoned shelves – with dusty volumes of diet books, recipe books, books on art for beginners, how to find your way around a car engine, starter photography, books on creating a wildlife sanctuary in your back garden (unfortunately Sophie-cat rather spoils that dream).

Anyway, I digress.

There are several books I bought all at once from Amazon just after I finished university in an attempt to keep the writing mill churning. Clearly, it failed. But these new re-blogged blog posts have shown me that inspiration from nowhere generally remains, well, nowhere. You can’t force imagination, but you can direct it.

I can’t give up my fiction reading – it’s one of the things that gets me through the manic day of reality – but I might have to pick up one of these books at the same time.

First on the list: The 3 a.m. Epiphany, by Brian Kiteley. This book provides over 200 writing exercises designed to get you thinking about your writing and, most importantly, writing in the first place.

The idea is I write one of these exercises once a week. Just like my Story Cubes, I need things to spark my writing off. I feel if I can get back to the basic routine of writing, the ideas for my novel will just evolve and appear. Not in some hippy, fluffy way – the way I always imagined – but in an organic, honest way where something I write shows me a direction, a character, a thread to the plot I hadn’t thought of before. Where something written down in a scrambled writing exercise is more imaginative than anything that is forced onto a blank page in a frantic realisation that I have been staring at the computer screen for 3 hours.

Anyway. Now I’ve been staring at a computer screen for 3 hours and FINALLY panic-written this post, I am sneaking away to bed (with my fiction book instead of the 3 a.m. Epiphany – I’m not quite ready yet for that, of course).

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Filed under Writing, Writing Curves

Haunting

My whole life is filled with hauntings lately.

I’m pretty sure I’m being haunted by a ghost. And not in a friendly, Casper-like way. In a malignant something’s-watching-me-from-the-corner-of-the-room way. It’s most likely my highly-strung imagination combined with watching horror films and reading a ghost story. (Though how you explain footsteps up and down the stairs when you’re tucked up in bed and there’s no one else in the house beats me). I took Sophie-cat to sleep on the end of my bed last night it’s getting so bad. I’m pretty sure Mummaloo and Poppaloo think I’m going nuts (it’s a 1960s built house and I’m pretty sure there were no deaths here before we moved in). I guess it doesn’t help that I still have an irrational fear of the dark (I don’t care what you say, 24 years old does not mean you get over your fear of not being able to see what’s under or at the end of your bed/in the wardrobe/at the other end of the hallway).

I am also being haunted by a Blue Tit. No euphemisms please. Every morning I am greeted by a tapping on the frosted window of the back door. I’m kind of enjoying the greeting with my morning cuppa. I’m just terrified of opening the back door and finding he flies in and becomes Sophie-cat’s new plaything.

And, finally, I am being haunted by the novel-that-never-was. Or, should I say, the novel-that-should-be-but-is-still-gathering-dust. All my fancy promises of a new start and writing every day seemed to fall to the wayside almost as quickly as I announced them. Life is still taking over. Instead, my forlorn little notebook is just looking (forlornly) at me with (forlorn) accusatory eyes. It follows me around the room, begging to be picked up, but not daring to say anything in case I hurt its feelings by giving a half-baked excuse of being too busy. I even dreamt about the damn thing last night! But that might have been the overdose of Sudafed I took in an attempt to breathe whilst sleeping affecting my brain patterns, or whatever.

What’s haunting you at the moment?

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Filed under Blogging, Sophie things, Tea, Writing

My Mascot

This is a very short post today, as I am far too wrapped up in writing my novel right now (don’t hate). So, without further ado, I will introduce you to my mascot – strictly when I’m at my parents of course…

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